NYT: Anti-obesity tax will make soda more expensive than beer

Another one for the Department-of-Unintended-Consequences, from NYT’s City Room:

While the governor is taking aim at obesity caused by sugary drinks, Mr. Eusebio worries that the proposed tax would slim down the beverage industry, which he said pays $6.7 billion in wages statewide and generates billions more for the economy.

But he also mentioned some far smaller numbers that startled a soft-drink drinker.

“A six-pack of soda is going to cost you approximately $4.99” if the penny-an-ounce tax goes through, Mr. Eusebio said, “where you can pick up beer from $2.99 to $3.99.”

Off to the neighborhood supermarket, where it turned out that Mr. Eusebio’s math was not far off. With the tax, a six-pack of Coca-Cola or Pepsi would cost 2 cents more than a six-pack of the cheapest beer in the store.

To be fair, the “cheapest beer” apparently includes such brands as Old Milwaukee…and even the thriftiest, alcohol-friendly consumers will stay with Cola over that. But at $5.61 for a 6-pack of Coke (2 cents per ounce times 6 cans times 12 ounces, plus the 30 cent container tax) is pretty daunting no matter what the alternatives are.

(Update: Headline was reversed…)

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